Los Angeles is the largest city in California and in the entire West Coast of the United States, and the largest in the entire country after After New York. L.A is known mostly as the center of the movie and TV industries, home to all the major studios and stars. Before you is a list of the best attractions in the city, that will help you better understand what makes LA tick, how it works, and get you closer to your favorite stars
1. The Hollywood Sign – The Hollywood sign was set up in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development, but since became the symbol of LA. The famous landmark is located on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Hollywood. Each letter in the sign is 45 ft tall (14 m) and the total sign is 350 ft (110 m) long, making it visible from a huge distance. Some recommended places to view the sign would be the Hollywood & Highland Center – a shopping mall located on Hollywood Boulevard, for a view from far away. The Griffith Observatory – for a closer look, and hiking trails from Griffith Park – for the closest look of the big white letters
2. Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater – Everyone who is somebody in the entertainment industry has a star on the famous Walk of Fame. Actors, musicians, directors, producers – they all dream of the day they get their own star on Hollywood Boulevard. There are over 2,500 stars along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks of Vine Street, and visitors like to walk the entire length, looking at the floor, searching for their favorite stars. The Walk of Fame is probably the most popular attraction in LA, and the large number of tourists bring with them a large number of street artists and impersonator. The Chinese Theater is a cinema palace located on the Walk of Fame. It is most famous for the nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints and autographs set in the concrete on front of the theater
3. Studio Tours – You can’t visit Los Angeles without taking a studio tour, because studios is what this city is all about. There are many different tours to pick from:
Warner Brothers Studio Tour – I loved this tour: see all the Batmobiles, sit on the couch of Central Perk, enter an active studio set (I got to see The Big Bang Theory set), and more.
Sony Pictures Studio Tours – two hour walking tour of the place where some unforgettable movies were filmed like: Spider Man, Men in Black, The Wizard of Oz and more.
Universal Studios Hollywood Tour – The Universal tour is 45 minutes long and takes place in a tram. You’ll see several sets like the set of Desperate Housewives and the Bates Motel from Psycho, but you will also get to experience real live movie affects. Note that the Universal studios tour is part of the Universal Studios theme park. So you must purchase a ticket for the entire theme park to get the tour
Paramount Studios Tour – The two hours Paramount tours also give you a glimpse into various different sets, and give a perspective of the history of film making
4. Santa Monica Pier – The 100 years old pier is a wonderful place to enjoy the afternoon or the evening. The pier includes a small amusement park with a big Ferris wheel, a still operating 1920s carousel hippodrome, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, a video arcade, some pubs and restaurants, street performers and more. There’s also a sign at the end of the pier that marks the very end of the legendary route 66
5. Venice Beach Boardwalk – The Venice Beach Boardwalk is one of the most visited places in Los Angeles. The 3 miles (4.8 km) long promenade along the pacific ocean is lined with shops, restaurants and cafes, street artists and performers, outdoor gyms, beach volleyball courts, playgrounds and more. The actual beach is right there, so you can also sit on the sand and enjoy a warm afternoon, or jump to water to cool down
6. Griffith Park – This huge city park is located in the mountains of Santa Monica and covers more than 4,000 acres. The park includes the Los Angeles Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, golf courts, concert venues and many hiking trails. The park is loved by both the city residents and visitors and offers a wonderful panoramic view of the LA metropolitan
7. Be In The Audience – So you walked the Walk of Fame and took a tour in the studios. Now it’s time for the real thing – be in the audience in an actual shooting. It’s fairly easy to get free tickets to be in the audience of a TV shooting. Here are few sites that offer those tickets: tvtickets.com, tvtix.com, 1iota.com, on-camera-audiences.com
, onsetproductions.com, Conan O’Brien tickets
8. The Getty Center – The Getty Center is located in Brentwood, on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles. It houses a wonderful world class art collection and known also for its architecture and gardens (including a sculptures garden), as well as the wonderful view of the city. The most famous item on display is Vincent Van Gogh painting Irises
9. Rodeo Drive – There are many places to shop in LA, and for most of us Rodeo Drive is probably not the most practical option. But you can still enjoy window shopping in the famous and expensive Rodeo Drive, mingle among the real shoppers while recalling the Rodeo Drive shopping scenes in Pretty Woman
10. Movie Stars’ Homes Tours – You walked the Walk of Fame, took a studio tour and even participated in a studio taping. It only make sense that next you’ll go for the source at take a pick into the homes of the stars. There are several companies that offer this tour and if you walk on Hollywood Boulevard, you don’t need to look for them – they’ll find you. So don’t worry about that. Tours typically take about 2 hours on a guided bus, and passes through huge mansions in Beverly Hills & Hollywood Hills. The chances to see an actual celebrity are slim if you ask me, and most of the houses are behind huge walls and trees, but it’s a fun tour nonetheless